Do you remember the phone number of one of the contacts already saved on the mobile? The date of a historical event? Or, the journey to get to the next summer vacation destination? If a study were conducted in Spain, perhaps the majority, if not all, of respondents would refuse to remember any questions they are already able to remember on their mobile or computer. However, set small memory challenges yes it can be used for prevent memory decline with age.
So says neuroscientist Richard Restak in his latest book, The Complete Guide to Memory, where he offers exercises that help overcome everyday memory problems. For instance, “a good way to pay attention when you learn new information, like a name, it’s visualizing the word,” Restak assured in statements to The New York Times.
Neurologist Teresa Moreno, spokesperson for the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), agrees with the words of her professional colleague. “Any exercise that keeps our mind active is useful,” he comments in statements to EL ESPAÑOL. Although he warns that it is not about doing, for example, extremely difficult equations. In fact, he recommends his patients to buy “children’s books in which you have to find the differences“.
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Moreno also points out that reading is a good habit for delaying the onset of memory loss symptoms. In this sense, Restak points to a specific section of bookstores: “People, when they have difficulty with memory, switch to reading non-fiction. But fiction requires a more active engagement with the text.”
the ten deadly sins
Neurologists are hesitant to predict the effect that the constant use of mobile phones will have on our memory“There are still no studies on the matter. But it’s not that it’s better or worse,” Moreno told this newspaper. And, according to Restak, “some memory lapses are actually attention problems.” That’s why he advises that if we go to the supermarket, try to memorize the shopping list. Or when we are heading to a new destination, that we are able to reach it without turning on the car’s GPS.
Getting enough rest influences our daily performance. Yes OK sleep apnea doubles the risk of an accidentIt also affects our cognitive level. “By simply correcting sleep problems, we improve a very large percentage of dementias,” warns the SEN spokesperson.
But not everything was going to test our wits. Thus, memory specialist Daniel L. Schacter listed the seven “deadly sins” we commit and lead to memory loss. The most common are found in forgetfulness (sins of omission) and in the distortion of memories (sins of commission). To these seven sins, the neurologist Richard Restak added three others, closely linked to today’s society. Two of them are due to the constant use of technologies, which cause us technological distortions and distractions.
However, the third sin may surprise many, since it affects 40% of the Spanish population according to a study carried out by AXA. Of people who are referred to neurologists for memory problems, “one of the main causes is depression“, asserts Restak. In this aspect, the neurologist Moreno confesses that they call it “pseudo-dementia”, because it is one of the few dementias that is curable: “When a person is depressed, it seems almost the same symptoms of Alzheimer’s because they don’t. His neurons are dead, but he doesn’t know how to control them.”
Although it is the “end stage” of memory loss, dementia affects around 50 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, Moreno comes to classify it as “a real epidemic”, although he is aware of the panic that this word generates in society today.